Flax: is Refrigeration essential?

Is refrigeration essential for flax oil

Q: Is Refrigeration for linseed (flaxseed) oil essential?

A: No Linseed does not have to be kept in the fridge

We believe we supply the best cold-pressed linseed oil ( otherwise known as flaxseed oil) in the UK; we make and bottle the oil by cold-pressing the seeds using the coolest, gentlest methods.  It is designed to be used fresh as a fresh food and is not intended for long storage.  We send it out absolutely fresh, within a few days of pressing.   We recommend that the oil we send out is consumed quickly as a fresh oil to enjoy it’s flavour and nutritional benefits at their best.  Like all produce linseed (flax) does deteriorate over time. However as oil is very different to meat, milk or vegetables  and we are not trying to control spoilage by bacteria or moulds refrigeration has less significance to ensuring the freshness and quality of oil.

Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3
Flax Farm fresh cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil for omega-3

Linseed oil, as food and therapeutic oil, has been pressed on small presses for centuries and likes to be produced on a small scale in a traditional way, a bit like home cooking – just as food like omelettes are much better when made at home than mass-produced in industrial kitchens and your granny’s sponge cakes we great on the weekend they cooked but went stale after that – next time you are in a supermarket check-out all the weird ingredients that go into long life packaged cakes and taste them; nothing like my granny’s cakes!

When linseed/ flax oil is produced on a larger scale in a more industrial way, usually with  higher temperatures, higher pressures and more machine/chemical processes are involved.   Linseed doesn’t respond well to this sort of treatment and it often makes it start to go rancid and bitter at the point of manufacture, this then goes off like dominoes toppling and the rancidity gets worse and the oil more bitter;  refrigerating the oil helps slow this effect down a little – but it is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted when oil is rancid to start with.  It is of significance as many of the mass-produced linseed/flax oils are expected to be in shops for many months, even up to two years, refrigeration means it gets worse slower!  It doesn’t make up for it not being fresh, Flax Farm linseed oil uses varieties of linseed that make nice tasting linseed oil, it is then supplied fresh and used fresh – we like it to be used within 2.5 months of opening or 4 months of pressing. Even at the end of this time Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil still tastes great.  Good Linseed (flax seed) oil should be mild, creamy, nutty, grassy, I.e. characteristically taste of linseed (flaxseed), with no off or rancid butter notes.  Linseed (flax seed) Oil should not be bitter or smell strongly.

Cold-pressed linseed/flax oil is very different to milk

Storage of oils like linseed /flax seed oil is very different to something like milk.  Milk goes “off” due to enzyme activity because of microbes getting into it and multiplying. Keeping it below 4 degrees centigrade helps to stop the dangerous ones establishing themselves as and once warmed for a short while the population of microbes is becomes huge and the milk then starts to go off very quickly, it can even go “off” in less than one day .

However linseed/flaxseed oil is completely different; this is nothing to do with microbes.  Linseed oil/flax seed oil is very rich in omega-3, this is a delicate and reactive molecule which is why it is so good for us (it means the body’s systems can link it easily to other nutrient molecules to make it into body components like cell membranes and hormones) unfortunately it also means it can oxidise if not properly cared for.  Oxidation is slowed down by cooler temperatures but as the difference between ambient temperature and refrigeration temperature is only 16 degrees this isn’t very significant (as temperature of all things starts from minus 273o Celsius and goes up to many thousands of degrees) so even as much as a few weeks at ambient temperature doesn’t really have much effect on the oil; it simply shortens the time it takes to lose its optimum freshness by, at the most, no more than a few days.   Which is why it is not critical to keep it refrigerated and it doesn’t spoil the quality.  It continues to be nice and just as good for you as linseed oil has ever been – and bear in mind linseed oil has been used as a “health food” for thousands of years before refrigeration was available.   This means that the few days between pressing and receipt of the oil makes effectively no difference to the flavour, quality or effectiveness of the oil.

Properly produced Linseed oil is actually far m heat stable than it is given credit for.  We have tested it extensively.   However it is very sensitive to strong light. Left in strong sunlight linseed oil (flax seed oil) can go rancid and bitter in less than an hour. So always avoid it being left in direct light store it in the dark.

We have many enthusiastic users of the oil who never put it in the fridge, they consume it fresh  and it remains fresh lovely and with all its health benefits.

The fridge is the best place to store linseed

However, just as the fridge or freezer is the best place for freshly ground coffee the low temperature keeps opened linseed (flax) oil a bit fresher for a bit longer. We also recommend if you are buying in bulk you store in the freezer  as the best place to store your linseed oil.   Being that freezers and fridges are dark this is an additional benefit to keeping linseed, oil or ground linseed fresh.

If you don’t have room in your fridge or freezer to store your the oil, don’t worry as long as you consume it bore the best before date it will be fine.

The Flax Council of Canada is really the World authority on flax (linseed) and their primer  is an excellent source of information for all things flax/linseed.   Go to the Flax Council Primer, appendix B for information on storage and heat-stability 

 

Black-gold Turmeric and Linseed Tea Recipe

Black-gold anti-inflammatory turmeric and linseed drink

 

Recipe: Black-gold Turmeric Anti-inflammatory Drink

Turmeric is a famous anti-inflammatory spice, this drink has the addition of other super-healthy ingredients to make my favorite hot drink. It’s caffeine-free and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients

  • A good 1/2 -1 tsp ground turmeric
  • A generous tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 mugful boiling water
  • 1 tsp organic blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-3 tsp coconut cream or 3 dessertspoons coconut, rice or soya milk
  • 1-2 tsp Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil

Instructions

  1. Place ginger, pepper and turmeric in a saucepan, and bring to the boil.
  2. Leave to simmer for 3 minutes
  3. Add honey, molasses and coconut cream or milk and linseed oil,
  4. Pour through fine strainer into mug
  5. Stir well and enjoy.

 

 

Baba Ganoush Aubergine Meze Dip

Aubergines for baba ganoush recipe.

Traditional dip

Baba ganoush is a delicious traditional Middle Eastern aubergine dish made with  olive oil. I have made the recipe with with linseed oil, olive oil and a mixture of the two and I have to say I think I prefer the cold-pressed linseed oil and mixed oil versions.  Baba ganoush is a dip, a side dish for salads or cooked meals, a sauce for pasta or spread generously on pitta bread, toast or rice crackers – it goes particularly well with buckwheat crackers and flax crackers, see recipe or ladled onto flax bread muffins, see recipe.

Healthier version

Made with fresh veggies, herbs and spices this is a healthy dish to start. Making the recipe with Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil is a great way to up the omega-3 content of the meal and make it even healthier.

Baba ganoush with linseed flax oil
Baba ganoush with linseed flax oil

Three tips for great Baba Ganoush

Well made baba ganoush is sublime. The one you will enjoy best comes about through trial until you get the balance of flavours you enjoy. You can’t be too precise with ingredients as the aubergines are never quite the same size or flavour. Feel free to vary the addition of spices, herbs and tahini to taste or what you have available .

The three top tips to making baba ganoush well are:

  1. Really blacken the skin of the aubergine. Whether you cook it over the gas, on the barbecue or under the grill cook it past the point where you think it must be done!
  2. Squeeze/drain water out thoroughly
  3. Add a generous amount of chopped fresh herbs, either mint, parsley or both.

Dairy-Free Flax Oil Butter 1, Simple spread

Cold pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil makes a great alternative to butter for bread or crackers.

Dairy-free & Vegan; spread as butter

We love using our cold-pressed linseed oil – including high lignan – as delicious easy butter alternative. If you need a dairy-free, vegan butter try Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil.  It’s great on crackers, bread, toast and even wheat-free breads.  It’s lovely as a dipping oil too, really good with spelt and traditionally made artisan breads or cooked veg and potatoes.

Small children especially seem to love dipping bread into the mild-buttery flavour of Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil as an alternative to butter.

Healthy Butter Alternative

Using our linseed oil as a healthy butter alternative means no saturated fat, no cholesterol, no animal fats and no milk protein.

Fewer calories per slice too!

Another advantage is you tend to use less oil because it is liquid, a few drops and far fewer calories go a long way. Helps keep you slim.

Omega-3 too

Probably the main reason you have a bottle of Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil for omega-3.  Use it as a spread instead of butter on your bread and you will be making a good addition to your daily omega-3 intake. It’s lovely with marmalade or savoury foods.

Dairy-Free Flax Oil Butter 2.

Healthy dairy free butter spreads from the fridge

Dairy-free and Vegan Butter

This looks almost just like ordinary butter and spreads from the fridge; this version is best for savoury use. It’s really easy to make.  Great on bread, crackers toast or veg. Good in any baking but don’t grill or fry with it.

Healthy Butter Alternative

This is a really healthy alternative to butter, no hydrogenated fats, no cholesterol, no animal fats and no milk protein, no additives, no anti-biotic residues and GMO-free.

Omega-3 too

As a bonus it has Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil which is an great source of essential omega-3 fatty acid.

Dairy-Free Flax Oil Butter 3, Savoury Butter

Healthy dairy free butter

Dairy-free and Vegan Butter

This looks almost just like ordinary butter and spreads from the fridge; this version is best for savoury use. It’s really easy to make.  Great on bread, crackers toast or veg. Good in any savoury baking but don’t grill or fry with it.

Healthy Butter Alternative

This is a really healthy alternative to butter, no hydrogenated fats, no cholesterol, no animal fats and no milk protein, no additives, no anti-biotic residues and GMO-free.

Omega-3 too

As a bonus it has Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil which is an great source of essential omega-3 fatty acid.

Dairy-Free Flax Oil Butter 4. Oleolux

Ingredients for recipe for Budwig diet Oleolux

Budwig Diet Dairy-free and Vegan Butter and Relish

This recipe was created by the famous Dr Johanna Budwig, it is an important part of the Budwig Diet. Use it as a relish or topping for cooked veg, potatoes, pasta, rice and buckwheat. It’s slightly nutty and really tasty and can transform simple steamed and baked veg.

Healthy Butter Alternative

This is a really healthy alternative to butter, no hydrogenated fats, no cholesterol, no animal fats and no milk protein, no additives, no anti-biotic residues and GMO-free.

Omega-3 too

As a bonus it has Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed oil which is an great source of essential omega-3 fatty acid.

Chocolate Mousse (Quick, Easy, Healthy & Delicious!)

Linseed chocolate mouse

I’m not sure whether the best thing about this recipe is that it’s so much quicker and easier to make than conventional mousse, full of good linseedy things like fibre and omega-3, it’s got no sugar and is low GI, it fills you up, got no naughty fats, amazingly delicious or just a great healthy way to get your chocolate fix! Despite the banana being the base it doesn’t taste particularly of strongly of banana. If you want a treat try this for breakfast; it’s a lot healthier than other chocolate breakfasts!

 

Raw Blackcurrant Ice-Cream with Linseed (dairy-free, sugar-free and no saturated fat)

Sugar-free, saturated-fat-free, dairy-free blackcurrant & banana ice-cream recipe.

Healthy Ice Cream Recipe

This recipe came about after going out for summer walk over the South Downs with a friend who decided to.restore herself with a blackcurrant ice cream; knowing her ice cream was laden with dairy, saturated fat and sugar didn’t make it any less tempting.  So as soon as I got home I made this recipe which is sugar-free, saturated-fat-free, dairy-free and low GI and much lower in calories. Since then I have been working on perfecting and find it makes and excellent breakfast during warm weather as well as satisfying dessert.

Having learnt how to make this sort of ice cream, healthy and delicious, brimming with all the goodness of fresh fruit and Flax Farm cold-pressed linseed (flaxseed) oil and ground linseed (omega-3, soluble and insoluble fibre, antioxidants,lignans)  I am never going to buy conventional ice creams and sorbets ever again. Check out our recipes for other varieties to keep your healthy with these super treats that are somewhere between conventional ice creams, sorbet and semifreddo desserts.

Quick and Easy to Make Homemade Ice Cream

This healthy ice home made cream recipe has the added benefit of being incredibly quick and easy to make – useful when you need an emergency dessert!

For dinner parties dress it up with sweetened fruit coulis and toasted flaked almonds, your guests will love it.

 

Pineapple, Banana and Passionfruit Ice with Linseed (dairy-free, sugar-free and no-added saturated fat)

Healthy Sorbet Style Ice Cream Recipe

I think this is my favourite ice cream or sorbet of all time.  I first made it getting back after a ParkRun on a hot July morning; just the ticket!

Another benefit is it’s super quick and easy to make.  It’s really refreshing but much healthier than a sorbet and more satisfying. I love making my own ices this way, I can’t think I will ever want to buy them from shops again and these healthy ice creams and sorbets go down well even with those who are still adverse to eating healthily.